A bill is being passed through the US Congress that would allow religious schools to bypass local non-discrimination laws, and legally reject students that do not fit their religious doctrines.
The bill, an amendment to the Higher Education Act, says that school accrediting boards cannot make adherence to non-discrimination laws a requirement.
Obviously, this is in reaction to issues like the Soulforce Equality Ride, as well as the University of the Cumberlands’ decision to expel a student for saying he is gay. Cumberlands, a private religious school, is supposed to receive public funding for a new School of Pharmacy, but the ACPE (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) may not approve any school that does not abide by its policy of non-discrimination, which (thankfully) includes sexual orientation. Oops.
In America, private organizations have the legal right to discriminate against whomever they want–on their own turf. But when they’re located in a place, like a city or an entire state, that has voted to not allow certain types of discrimination, they must follow the rules of wherever they are. We all deal with things we don’t like, i.e. presidential elections, because the popular vote went a certain way. But that’s the fun of living in a society with elections on things. Majority rules, get over it.
By allowing religious schools to be exempt from any non-discrimination rules they don’t like, the schools could also discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, whoever they think won’t be getting into heaven. It’s odd to think that these religious organizations feel they shouldn’t have to abide by local laws that they don’t like. And now, Congress seems to agree?
UPDATE: It seems the Kentucky governor is getting cold feet, and will pull Cumberlands’ money anyway. Ha! [GayNewsBlog]